who never kept any position for long. Something would come

One of the most considerable of the streams of lava lay in a spacious broad valley. The lava-stream itself, about two miles long, and of a considerable breadth, traversing the whole of the plain, seemed to have been called into existence by magic, as there was no mountain to be seen in the neighbourhood from which it could have emerged. It appeared to be the covering of an immense crater, formed, not of separate stones and blocks, but of a single and slightly porous mass of rock ten or twelve feet thick, broken here and there by clefts about a foot in breadth.

who never kept any position for long. Something would come

Another, and a still larger valley, many miles in circumference, was filled with masses of lava shaped like waves, reminding the beholder of a petrified sea. From the midst rose a high black mountain, contrasting beautifully with the surrounding masses of light-grey lava. At first I supposed the lava must have streamed forth from this mountain, but soon found that the latter was perfectly smooth on all sides, and terminated in a sharp peak. The remaining mountains which shut in the valley were also perfectly closed, and I looked in vain for any trace of a crater.

who never kept any position for long. Something would come

We now reached a small lake, and soon afterwards arrived at a larger one, called Kleinfarvatne. Both were hemmed in by mountains, which frequently rose abruptly from the waters, leaving no room for the passage of the horses. We were obliged sometimes to climb the mountains by fearfully dizzy paths; at others to scramble downwards, almost clinging to the face of the rock. At some points we were even compelled to dismount from our horses, and scramble forward on our hands and knees. In a word, these dangerous points, which extended over a space of about seven miles, were certainly quite as bad as any I had encountered in Syria; if any thing, they were even more formidable.

who never kept any position for long. Something would come

I was, however, assured that I should have no more such places to encounter during all my further journeys in Iceland, and this information quite reconciled me to the roads in this country. For the rest, the path was generally tolerably safe even during this tour, which continually led me across fields of lava.

A journey of some eight-and-twenty miles brought us at length into a friendly valley; clouds of smoke, both small and great, were soon discovered rising from the surrounding heights, and also from the valley itself; these were the sulphur-springs and sulphur-mountains.

I could hardly restrain my impatience while we traversed the couple of miles which separated us from Krisuvik. A few small lakes were still to be crossed; and at length, at six o'clock in the evening, we reached our destination.

With the exception of a morsel of bread and cheese, I had eaten nothing since the morning; still I could not spare time to make coffee, but at once dismounted, summoned my guide, and commenced my pilgrimage to the smoking mountains. At the outset our way lay across swampy places and meadow lands; but soon we had to climb the mountains themselves, a task rendered extremely difficult by the elastic, yielding soil, in which every footstep imprinted itself deeply, suggesting to the traveller the unpleasant possibility of his sinking through,--a contingency rendered any thing but agreeable by the neighbourhood of the boiling springs. At length I gained the summit, and saw around me numerous basins filled with boiling water, while on all sides, from hill and valley, columns of vapour rose out of numberless clefts in the rocks. From a cleft in one rock in particular a mighty column of vapour whirled into the air. On the windward side I could approach this place very closely. The ground was only lukewarm in some places, and I could hold my hand for several moments to the gaps from which steam issued. No trace of a crater was to be seen. The bubbling and hissing of the steam, added to the noise of the wind, occasioned such a deafening clamour, that I was very glad to feel firmer ground beneath my feet, and to leave the place in haste. It really seemed as if the interior of the mountain had been a boiling caldron. The prospect from these mountains is very fine. Numerous valleys and mountains innumerable offered themselves to my view, and I could even discern the isolated black rock past which I had ridden five or six hours previously.

I now commenced my descent into the valley; at a few hundred paces the bubbling and hissing were already inaudible. I supposed that I had seen every thing worthy of notice; but much that was remarkable still remained. I particularly noticed a basin some five or six feet in diameter, filled with boiling mud. This mud has quite the appearance of fine clay dissolved in water; its colour was a light grey.



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